The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956)

The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956)

The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956)

The Turning Tide: From the Desegregation of the Armed Forces to the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1948-1956)

Synopsis

This work surveys the period in African American history from 1948 through 1956 & includes Rosa Parks, Ralph Ellison, Charlie Parker, & Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.

Excerpt

Black America's historical road reveals milestone after awesome milestone. On the stretch between 1948 and 1956, thousands of young Americans, black and white, went to war in Korea and Vietnam; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People fought and defeated the restrictive covenants that had long barred blacks from decent housing; diplomat Ralph Bunche became the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Gwendolyn Brooks the first to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry; the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation in public education illegal. Towering among these historical milestones is one that marks the joining of two roads.

Released from slavery more than eight decades before this era began, African Americans had made costly but steady progress. They had battled poverty, violence, racial hatred. But although blacks' American roots reached deeper than those of many other citizens, some whites still regarded them as not quite real Americans. Shockingly, as late as the 1940s, a U.S. senator solemnly asked his peers to approve a bill forcing all black Americans to settle in Africa. The senator met a scornful rebuff, but his words left a shameful echo.

According to law, black Americans and white Americans had equal rights in everything from justice and education to public facilities and housing. But along with equal came a mocking qualifier: separate but. The legality of the nation's "separate but equal" doctrine had been established in 1896 by the U.S. Supreme Court's notorious Plessy v. Ferguson decision. By ruling that blacks could be provided with separate facilities, as long as they were "equal" to those offered whites, the Court had legalized racial segregation. In reality, the facilities available to blacks were rarely equal, but proving inequality . . .

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